Signature Chefs

Emily Dickinson wrote a famous quote about hope. Something about it being a bird and never giving up?

Something.

Hope is a wonderful things, but there’s something they forget to tell you about it–sometimes you’re desperate for hope. You want to be hopeful, and you’re looking for any little thing to help you feel it.

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Not Political, Personal

Alternate title: The post that makes everyone mad.

By now you’d have to live under a rock not to have heard that Ann Coulter called the President a “retard” on Twitter after the debate the other night. I was doing my usual that evening–reading twitter, watching Netflix, just relaxing–when that word started lighting up my Twitter stream. There it was–again and again. I was lucky because all of the people who re-tweeted it were angry about it. They were disgusted and wanted to let the world know. I saw the whole thing as a desperate grab for attention–one that had obviously succeeded–and did not get in on the retweeting fun. Later, I did tweet that I thought that using slurs about the disabled for attention pretty much made you the lowest life form on the planet, but I was careful not to use Ann’s name or handle because I honestly believe nothing would have satisfied her more.

I left it at that.

But then I got to thinking and the more I thought, the madder I got. I’m pretty sure madder isn’t a word, but that’s never stopped me before.

So here’s the deal: The Special Olympics–a pretty fantastic organization–has spent the last SEVERAL years and I’m assuming some significant dollars trying to educate the public about “the r-word.” They did this because their athletes said that the word was hurtful, they didn’t like it, and they wanted people to stop using it as an insult.

So then Ms. Coulter, a woman with considerable reach and power, takes that word, takes the years of work that has been done to try to educate the population, and she politicizes it and uses it to her advantage.

I watched Twitter very carefully last night and I checked Facebook regularly today. I was re-tweeted many times about Ann Coulter and pretty much all of the people who re-tweeted me were also vocal Democrats. When I tweeted about my local radio station using the r-word, I got like two retweets. The same is true for Facebook–all of the people sharing the story were again, vocal Democrats. Suddenly, not calling people a retard because it is offensive is Republican/Democrat thing as opposed to what it actually is–A NOT BEING A JERK THING.

Using respectful language is not and should not be political, and I hate the this woman–who is obviously just trying to court controversy (she has a new book coming out!)–is making it that way. I don’t care who you vote for. I don’t.

But when you decide that you can’t call someone out because y’all vote for the same candidate? I notice that and I do care.

And when you’re suddenly the biggest supporter of the cognitively impaired because it suits your political agenda? I notice that too.

So stop. Stop riding on the backs of people who have worked for many years to make a change that has to do with dignity and not politics. I can’t take it any more.

Watch

The twins have this adorable habit: they ignore the seven bajillion toys that we own and instead wander around our house in their drunken way grabbing random objects and appropriating them as teethers. With three kids one and under, I’ve given up even the semblance of housekeeping, so I do very little to stop them. I mean, I take the bottles of whiskey and cleaning supplies out of their hands, but that’s about it. The lazy side of me keeps thinking I should just start cleaning with vinegar and baking soda and that would cut my work load in half.

So when I found a small velvet box in Charlie’s room, I wasn’t surprised, but I did assume that it belonged to my husband. Little known Mr. Bird fact–he has a think for cuff links and owns many, many pairs. We even check out the cufflinks when we’re shopping in thrift stores just to see if we can find anything special.

But I was talking about that box. I opened it up and expected to find some vintage cuff links and instead I found my grandmother’s watch. My aunt sent it to me several years ago and I’d meant to have it looked at to see if I could get it working, but life gets in the way sometimes (oftentimes), and there I was probably three years later having not done a thing to get the watch in working order.

I don’t remember a lot about my grandma at this point, but two things stand out: one, I thought she was completely nuts, and two, people loved her. As a young person, your sole goal in life is to blend in with the crowd. My grandmother was a lot of things, but she was never a blender.

black and white photo of a woman

She arrived in New Orleans from Honduras as a young woman with the intent of learning secretarial skills. Instead, she met my grandfather and got married. She danced to salsa music in her living room and loved her children fiercely. She tried to make me eat green beans when I was seven and I ended up sitting at the kitchen able for a very long time. We were both pretty stubborn.

She was a working woman long before it was fashionable and she was also the type of person who would try to barter down the price of a purse at Dillards. She volunteered, and cooked, and laughed, and lived life to its outer edges. When my grandfather had a stroke, she cared for him without a second thought. I remember her breaking down at Thanksgiving dinner one year when he was in the hospital. I was shocked. Surely she needed a break? Surely she was glad to have one less thing to deal with? Nope. Not her. She loved that man to the end.

When she passed away, her funeral looked like a keg party. It was crammed full of all the people whose lives she had touched. Her French teacher showed up! At seventy-plus she was learning her third language. Also of note: my grandmother had lied about her age for so long that when she passed away, no one was exactly sure how old she was.

I could write about her for days and not mention half of the things that I intend to.

Her dainty gold watch is mine now it fits perfectly on my wrist. I think I’m going to get it working–for real this time. It can serve as a reminder–to live life to the outer edges, to dance in the living room, to love fiercely.

older couple smiling

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